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About Garden / Gathering Space

Over the past six years we have been working on ways to make meaningful offerings to Coast Salish and Urban Indigenous community members through research, offering space and other resources.

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This new space has been developed to support Indigenous cultural resurgence, storytelling frameworks, stories which guide and direct us from the land outward.  And, stories which offer connection and universal wisdom to strengthen our futures together, if we listen to them.  This is a beautiful Garden / Gathering Space, designed with these intentions, that is nearing completion right along Eighth Avenue at the approach to the facility.  Read more about the origins of the design, the collaborators and the possibilities this space represents below.

To conceptualize this work, Artist/Researcher Ronnie Dean Harris has been working closely with Executive Director Jessica Schneider and PFS Studios. Ronnie works with us as Indigenous Cultural Developer.  He is connected regionally, nationally and internationally to Indigenous Artists and communities and has been diving deep into his own resurgence work in connection with others, his Aunties and Uncles and advisors from throughout the Province and beyond.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Canadian Heritage, the Vancouver Foundation, and the Province of British Columbia through the 150 Time Immemorial Grant Program in the development of this space.

*Border artwork by Atheana Picha

If you, or your company, would like to support the development of the garden through a tax deductible donation or sponsorship, please email us  or make a donation online.


Concept + Connection(s)

Providing a framework for halkomelem stories told through the concepts of: 

  • sqwelqwel: human histories, stories about family, genealogy, fishing, hunting, gathering and other connections within the framework of human histories + memories
  • sxwoxwiyam: creation stories, Transformer stories, ‘tel swayel’ or ‘skyborn’ ancestors; during the time when humans + animals were interchangeable
  • Architecturally and thematically, the shape of this idea is the framework of the plankhouse. The vertical posts representing sqwelqwel and beams representing sxwoxwiyam, connecting the various ‘house posts’ or ‘support posts’ telling their human stories from the land outwards.
  • In the historical and artistic realm of telling sqwelqwel stories, vertical posts will be reserved for the information connecting contemporary stories to communities designated and reserved in recognition and acknowledgements of the various First Nations and cultural groups with deep ties to the lands and waters around the area.

Gathering Space(s) Design Collective

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Atheana Picha Is A Salish Artist From The Kwantlen First Nation, And Her Grandmother Was From Tsartlip. Atheana Was Given The Name Nash’mene’ta’naht By Gerry Oleman From The St’at’imc First Nation, Which Translates To “Go-Getter Woman”. Born In Vancouver, She Grew Up And Works Out Of Richmond, BC. She Is An Interdisciplinary Artist, Working Mostly In 2-Dimentional Media. Atheana Has Been Doing Two Apprenticeships Learning Salish Wool Weaving With Musqueam Weaver Debra Sparrow Since 2019, And Learning Silver Engraving, Wood Carving, And Tool Making With Squamish Artist And Educator Aaron Nelson-Moody Since 2018. Atheana’s Practice Is Grounded In Learning More About Salish Design Through Studying The Old Pieces, Observing Nature, And Learning From Her Elders And Teachers.

Atheana Studied Fine Art At Langara College For Three Years, With A Focus On Ceramics, Intaglio Printmaking, And Wood Carving. Then In 2021, She Focused On Screen Printing And Drawing. She Is Engaged With Public Art Through Her Mural Work Throughout The Greater Vancouver Area Since 2018, And More Recently With Banner And Vinyl Mural Installations. Atheana Is A Two-Time Recipient Of The YVR Art Foundation Emerging Artist Scholarship, And Has Works In The Collections At The Museum Of Vancouver, Burnaby Art Gallery, Bill Reid Gallery Of Northwest Coast Art.

Diamond Point is a Contemporary Coast Salish Artist and proud member of Musqueam Indian Band. Over the last few years, Point has built up her public art experience and portfolio with many different opportunities and artistic achievements, with her artwork being showcased through Vancouver Mural Festival, Vancouver Coastal Health, Patagonia Vancouver, Translink, Delta School District, UBC; or having been on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, and the Museum of Anthropology. Point firmly believes that her body of work demonstrates who she is as not only a contemporary artist, but also as a proud Musqueam and Coast Salish person. As an artist, Point intends to create artwork that connects contemporary experiences, styles and contexts to traditional understandings, knowledge and teachings.
Rain Pierre (sɬə́məxʷ), creator of Rain Awakens, is an artist from Katzie First Nation. In 2016, he shifted from a career in civil engineering to pursue art and to follow a path more aligned with his spirit.  He makes artworks in a variety of mediums and has partnered with the school districts of Surrey, Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows to inspire young students.

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Hailee has loved art from a young age, from doodling on the pages of her note book to taking classes at Emily Carr. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that she started taking art seriously and became interested in her culture’s art style. In September 2022 she had her first mural installed with Translink about Truth and Reconciliation and is now an emerging Musqueam Artist. 

Ronnie Dean Harris aka Ostwelve, is a Stō:lo/St’át’imc/N’laka’pamux artist based in New Westminster, B.C. Beginning in music, he has explored various mediums such as TV, film, visual + sound design along side various research subjects including history, cosmology, genealogy and Indigenous policy.

Ronnie’s design career started in high school doing designs for local skateboard companies moving into professional design for advertising, branding and media applications. Ronnie has also had the opportunity to install murals and other physical design elements in spaces around the Lower Mainland. As a designer, his focus is on traditional and contemporary Salish design form.

Ronnie is the current Indigenous Cultural Development Director at Massey Theatre in New Westminster working on various cultural + social activations through research and programming.

You can also hear Ronnie as the voice of Dad/Walter on the PBS/WGBH series Molly Of Denali and seen on various other TV + film projects.

English (Canada)